I was back at one of my favorite spots for a quick walk and a rest.
After my walk I got out my chair and started watching a juvenile yellow crowned night heron trying to eat a crab. He flipped it around for a long time and then swallowed it quickly when I blinked. He has one tiny white fuzz strand still sticking out of his head from his baby fuzz.
It was low tide and the rocks were covered in these tiny black shells. I don’t know if these are baby conch shells or just some type of tiny black shell. Any Florida shell experts out there?
A pair of oystercatchers fly by.
Later I drove over to the other bridge on the causeway, closest to the mainland, and parked to walk on that bridge. I noticed a great egret and a reddish egret standing fairly close to each other. I pulled my camera back out and shot the above.
The great egret started walking towards the reddish egret and the reddish egret started ruffling his feathers like “Don’t come over here. This is my spot”. The great egret kept going and then flew off.
Heading over the bridge.
Clouds were moving in as I walked over the bridge. I noticed an osprey on the top of the gate that closes when the drawbridge has to go up.
Pelicans were sitting along the pilings under the bridge.
As I was getting back in my car I heard some nanday parakeets screaming nearby so out came my camera again and I walked over to the bushes and caught a few of them eating the seed. At this point the clouds were getting dark so I headed home.
It’s not often I walk out on the beach and there are the birds I’m looking for. The oystercatcher Mom and juvenile were feeding right next to a snowy egret along the shoreline at Fort Desoto.
There were two juveniles with the parents and each one stayed close to a parent. The babies were almost as big as the parent but their feathers were not as black, their beaks were not as bright red and they didn’t have those beautiful yellow eyes yet. I sat down on the sand and watched the parents get some icky blob and feed it to the little ones over and over.
It was hard to get the entire family in one shot. I walked back on the beach a bit and was able to get both parents feeding the babies.
A couple of times the babies were able to find their own breakfast. They were watching everything Mom and Dad were doing.
They kept moving along the shoreline, staying busy eating.
At one point another bird came close and one of the parents flew off and chased it away. Here you can see that this one is banded with a red AE. She is the Mom and was banded in Georgia back in 2012. She has been a regular at Fort Desoto since then. The babies were born on Shell Key and didn’t make it over to the main beach here until they were old enough to fly over with their parents in early July.
They spent a long time feeding and I finally left. All of the above were taken with my 400mm lens and cropped up.
I had just walked out on to the beach when these two oystercatchers flew by and then circled around and landed in front of me.
A juvenile ring billed gull flew by.
Something spooked the sandpipers and they all took off.
I found the pair of whimbrels that have been sighted hanging out nearby the gulf pier. They were not skittish at all as shell collectors walked right past them. Of course the willet was trying to get in on the pictures as well.
Students from nearby Eckard Collage have been volunteering to help with hooked birds on the fishing pier. They were just arriving with their gear on this cloudy windy day. There’s a huge problem with birds getting caught in fishing line. Not just at this pier but other busy piers as well. Pelicans, cormorants and gulls are just some of the birds that get hooked while diving close to the people fishing. If people cut the lines, the birds fly off with tangled fishing line and get trapped in mangroves and starve to death. The girls are here to help show the fishermen how to reel in the birds and take the line off or the hooks out.
Meanwhile up at the east beach turnaround, the kiteboarders were out in full force on this windy morning.
A beautiful morning out at Fort Desoto. Out on Outback Key, you can see St. Pete beach far off in the distance. That big pink hotel (Don CeSar) really stands out.
Rush hour traffic on the water.
Usual birds around the fishing pier. A ruddy turnstone, loggerhead shrike and a ring billed gull with just a touch of orange around his eye.
TOTO, the banded oystercatcher, was there in his usual spot.
His mate was close by looking for food.
A nice cool morning for a walk on the beach at Fort Desoto in February. Sadly now this is more important than every, just being outside. Yesterday Brett and I went to the beach just to be outside since everything else is closed. Even the zoo is closed (although the keepers will still be there taking care of the animals). I’m working at home for the next few weeks and I’m sure the walls will start closing in. I’m going to try and walk in the neighborhood after work each night to get out. Hope everyone stays sane out there. Thanks for stopping by and let me know how you are coping.
I sat down on the sand at the north beach sanctuary and watched this oystercatcher feeding just outside of the roped off area. They got pretty close to me and seemed very comfortable just walking along digging for slimy gunk. I watched for a while before heading out to the rest of the park. I’ve seen this green banding one there before. He’s a regular in the winter at Fort Desoto park.
Snowy egrets waiting for a handout from a fisherman.
Cormorants keeping an eye on things from up high.
The juvenile reddish egret is still hanging around the pier.
The usual oystercatcher couple trying to stand out in the crowd.
A sandwich tern taking a bath.
A young sandwich tern still screaming for Mom to bring a snack.
A laughing gull with a shell.
Lots of different birds hanging around the fishing pier at Fort Desoto.